Since I started posting here again, I have, much to my surprise, had a few people following my/this blog and a few others liking some of the posts. I’m sure that for those of you/us who have just started their blogs or have spent quite some time growing their readership, responses are great motivation for writing more. Heck, they are almost like having your crush notice you, where your self-esteem shoots up 10 times and you want to further impress, as in this case, by writing more. However, I haven’t quite figured out the bloggerly code of communication as yet. My idea for this blog is to write casual insights about everyday things (even though my inspiration for it has been the much more formal Baconian essays). I have been a diarist for many years, which really is most of my writing practice and experience, but that medium is a lot less mysterious than this. In fact, there is no mystery at all, as I am free to write what I want expressly because I want no one to read it. I still try to maintain some two-way dialogue as it is much less lonelier than talking to an empty space. So, I address my recipient simply as ‘diary’. It is a conversation at the second most micro level possible, next only to thinking to yourself/myself. I don’t have to bother much with pronouns there.
But here, I am confused about what personal pronouns to use. I have every intention of building a readership but, I haven’t the slightest clue as to how I should involve my intended reader. Should I go old school and write “one does” or “one says” etc., meaning you and me and every other human being in the most objective way possible? Or should I be more modern and write “you think” or “you feel”, just to sound even more casual and laid back than the subject matter might possibly be? Or should I just, at the risk of sounding narcissistic, be honest and simply address every insight with an “I hope” and “I care”?
Each of the above poses a problem and a solution. Any writer, while trying to provide insights on a given subject, is trying to find the universal in the personal. Our writing is our most basic and safest act of understanding our own humanity. With using “one”, the writer includes both the personal and the universal without any surety, any declaration of his/her insight as the truth. It might sound formal because it is an older practice, but a “one” is much more inclusive than the other two. But, because of the “one’s” dated status in writing , “you” is by far the most popular form of inclusion. While offering the insight, using “you”(or “I” or “one”) to preface any act or situation under question, the common relevance of that act is further emphasized. The personal insight gets even more validated. The writer’s loneliness in that experience is lessened and the reader is drawn closer because of this informality. No wonder, the “you” is a favourite with modern poetry and lyrics. However, it can get irksome for the reader at times, especially when the subject matter is not directly relatable. We are always searching for ourselves in art, looking to find some of the waters of the sea of our personalities in the sea of art works where we get fractions of the personalities of others. A “you” can sometimes seem patronizing for the reader. It can even be an attack on their delicate, searching mind. A “you” might sorely point out what one/you/I have not done. A “you” might be enough for the reader to think that that writer is one friend he/she must avoid henceforth.
Which brings us to the “I”, the least popular, the most daring and ultimately, the most truthful. I/We cannot, simply cannot, know ourselves or others. It is impossible. Therefore when I/We write, I/We do so to share what we can understand for the moment. Attitudes and opinions are subject to change and by using the personal pronoun I/We, rather than being narcissistic, I/We am/are actually owning our thoughts and experiences as our own, open for the perusal, refusal or acceptance of those to whom I/We share them with. It is unpleasant to read someone who constantly refers to himself/herself as “I…I…I” or “me…me…me” but, to look on the bright side, it is only themselves they presume to have any understanding of.
My posts so far have been an awkward mixture of the three and I do not know if I am quite comfortable writing exclusively in any one of them. However, I shall continue to offer opinions, hoping that they have more relevance than they do in the dialogue of my mind.